Julia & Julian
Julian and I first got to know each other over waffles with ice cream and strawberries. It was our first date and I was in complete disbelief that such an amazing guy had walked into my life. He was a hardworking carpenter, he loved his family, he could play the piano, was learning French and he had the biggest, warmest smile that won me over straight away. Fast forward a year and we are travelling through Europe together, we moved in shortly after and then bought our first house about 18 months into our relationship.
During March last year I asked Julian if we could set a date for our wedding. He said yes!!!! It wasn’t an official proposal as he was determined to do that himself, however he agreed that I could start planning the wedding whilst he saved up for a ring. It was the perfect agreement and we kept everything a surprise until we threw a big engagement/house warming party a few months later.
Being a marriage celebrant myself, I had a very clear idea on what was important for a wedding day. You needed an awesome celebrant, lots of food and alcohol, shelter (might sound silly but you really do need somewhere to stay warm and dry), somewhere comfy to relax and then you needed an amazing band to get everyone up and dancing!
Julian and I divided all the jobs into two big lists that we kept on the fridge and I was amazed that Julian was getting through his list quicker than me!!
The first thing we did was book in our good friend Ché to be our celebrant. I had many people to choose from so I left this decision up to Julian. He said Ché without even blinking an eye and that was it! Luckily she was available! I had only two free weekends last year when I wasn’t marrying other people (these dates I purposely kept free in hope one of them would be my own wedding day!) So the free weekend in October would be my Hen’s day, and the free weekend in November would be the Wedding day!
We locked in two photographers very early on. I had my heart set on asking Kerryn Lee Photography to capture a pre-wedding photo shoot for us a few weeks before the wedding and I loved the idea of all of these photos getting made into a beautiful album for people to sign at the wedding, like a guest book! Kerryn was brilliant and with very limited time, she worked her magic and had the most stunning photo album all ready to go for guests to write little messages of love in! We saw this album for the very first time on the wedding day too. Such a gorgeous gift. Everyone loved it.
Out of nearly everything we planned for our wedding, doing the photoshoot well before the day was easily the best decision. We could choose a day based on the weather, we had nearly three hours of un-interrupted photo time with Kerryn and best of all, it didn’t take any time away from partying with our guests!
Our second photographer was Lauren Murphy Photography and she had the perfect balance of capturing precious moments whilst also being the best looking fly on the wall! We wanted candid photos on the day and then a simple quick family photo session time.. none of this ‘looking off into the distance’ stuff that you see everywhere! We firmly believed that the wedding day is about having fun, not posing for the camera. Hence why we got all our ‘lovey dovey’ photos done about five weeks before.
Choosing a venue was a bit tricky as Julian really wanted a massive wedding and wanted a venue that was close to the city. We compromised by booking a hall further away and then hired a coach to offer our guests transport if they needed it. The hall at Ferny Creek Recreational Reserve was awesome and amazingly affordable. For the whole weekend it cost us $400.
Digging for Fire BBQ Kitchen was our caterer of choice. Dave’s food was fresh and so tasty! Locally and ethically sourced, he had heaps of options for our vegan, vegetarian and gluten free friends. Plus a whole lot of delicious meat.
Putting on a big wedding in a hall, I soon realised that there wouldn’t be a venue manager that could do the last minute arrangements and co-ordinate suppliers on the day. So I asked the gorgeous Vanessa from Valure Events to be my wedding planner for the morning set-up, and from there my fabulous friend, presenter and MC, Carina Waye took over and made the rest of the day run smoothly.
Julian had three groomsmen – his best mates Paul, Jack and Brendan – and they all looked super handsome in Briggins suits. I chose not to have any bridesmaids and instead asked my most favourite ladies to get ready with me on our wedding day morning. I called them my Guests of Honour and ordered them all cute button holes to wear, and we enjoyed sipping champagne and eating scones before the wedding started.
I knew I would never wear a wedding gown, how can you dance properly in that? Instead I opted for a custom made ‘buttercup’ yellow full circle skirt, with a pretty lace bodice made by Elke Anouk Couture. With white gloves, mustard shoes (heels and matching flats from Novo) and an adorable pillbox hat and pearl jewellery, my outfit was complete!
Being the awesome carpenter that he is, Julian made all the wedding signs, cut up all the birch trees that we used for table centre-pieces and he spent hours making us a giant big heart for our ceremony back drop! My talented cousin Belinda from The Roadside Stall decorated the heart with flowers sourced from my Dad’s flower farm and surrounding local flower growers.
The heart looked absolutely stunning and was the perfect feature to have behind us for the ceremony, speeches and our first dance. Belinda also made us 40 billy button buttonholes (for all the Guests of Honour, groomsmen and family members) and my gorgeous bouquet! Billy Buttons will always be special for me because they were the flowers Julian bought for me for our first Valentine’s Day!
The funny looking table centre-pieces were very ‘Dr Seuss’ and looked great! Julian drilled holes in the birch tree trunks, then I spent a few hours tearing off pieces of moss and arranging the billy buttons in them. So easy and effective and they lasted for weeks after the wedding.
Dad also surprised me by bringing a whole van full of ivy to the venue the day before and he draped all the ivy from the ceiling beams. It looked so beautiful and contrasted awesomely with the fairy lights and yellow heart bunting that was used to decorate everything. Belinda and Dad also made a big aisle lined with potted hydrangeas. This was another surprise for me as we had originally planned to have the ceremony outside and I hadn’t thought of how to make a ‘cute’ aisle once we changed to our wet weather plan. The hydrangeas really added something special to the hall and Dad quickly shuffled them all around after the ceremony so they weren’t in people’s way.
The ceremony was the best I’ve ever been to! Haha! Ché incorporated a fun light hearted story that we heard for the first time during the ceremony (I wanted to be surprised!) We wrote our own personal vows and our two chosen readings were also a complete surprise. I asked my Dad to write a blessing for us which brought tears to my eyes, and Julian’s two cousins, Georgia and Sam, wrote a hilarious piece as well which had the whole crowd involved.
Their best line was below..
However the best part of the ceremony was when Ché told everyone to take a moment and to listen to Alannah Guthrie-Jones play a piece on the harp. For no reason other than to enjoy the music and let the specialness of the day sink in! Alannah played Yiruma’s ‘River Flows In You’ and it was absolutely stunning. The music filled the room and it gave us such a rare and precious chance to look out at all our loved ones and be touched by beautiful music, thoughts and feelings!!!
We chose not to have a wedding cake; instead we asked our guests if they could bring a dessert. (I ordered four cakes from Twisted Sister Cafe just in case there was a shortage of sweets) Why have one cake when you can have a whole buffet of slices, cookies and treats?
Our ‘Cosy Corner’ was also a big success!! We hunted for second hand bean bags in the weeks leading up to the wedding and I think we had about eight all up. It wasn’t until about 10.30pm at night when I finally got a chance to plonk myself down on a bean bag, but my goodness when I did it was delightful!!
For music we were spoilt with choice. Alannah Guthrie-Jones played the harp whilst guests arrived. A good friend and beautiful singer Gemma Purdy sang ‘At Last’ during the processional, accompanied by Alex Welch on guitar. For our ceremony music Gemma, Alice (another gorgeous singer), Alex and Alannah learned the compositions to ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin, ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer and Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ … they changed the lyrics to sing Julia instead of Juliette! Haha.
The music didn’t stop the whole day. Alice and Alex did a beautiful acoustic set after the ceremony then our band The White Tree entertained our guests for five hours; Julian’s cousin Georgia Flipo spent two hours on the decks as our resident DJ. Altogether there was ten hours of non stop music!
My little sister’s speech was also a highlight..
An excerpt below…
“Love, love, love, love, love. Love.
Anyone who knows Julia, knows that Julia loves love. She loves the feeling, she loves the thought, she loves the word. Love. So much so, that she’s made it her career, she’s tattooed it on her shoulder, she surrounds herself with love every day. Every day, she hears beautiful love stories and witnesses gallant proclamations of love and commitment. What a lovely love-filled life to lead?
“Whoever she ends up with is going to have very big expectations to fill”, we all thought.
Some men tried, but Julia knew that there were lovelier gents to love…
…. In Julian, Julia found a man who could serenade her, laugh with her, get equally excited about things with, and most importantly, someone who’d enjoy watching the Bachelorette with her! Not only does Julian have a huge heart, but he built her one too. What a catch!”
And if all that love wasn’t enough, Julian and I kick started the dance session by surprising all our guests with the funnest rock and roll/swing/waltzy silly made up moves moves/ first dance to Taylor Swifts ‘Shake It Off’. We practised a fun routine every Monday night that I choreographed in our lounge room for about three months. I liked the idea of getting professional lessons however when the idea of dancing to ‘Shake It Off’ came about, I thought I could make up the best routine to it and utilised Julian’s strength and my rhythm to create something really memorable. Everyone was so impressed and immediately hit the dance floor afterwards.
Four friends manned the bar. It was important to us to have a fully stocked bar so I purchased everything at ridiculously good prices from my great contact at IGA Liquor and then we treated all our guests to beer, wine, champagne, punch, mojitos and sangria. Organising all the cocktail ingredients and trying to work out quantities for such a large group of people really stressed me out but my Mum was a brilliant help and spent hours the day before cutting all the fruit and just generally being the best Mum ever.
There was only one thing that went pear shaped. My beautiful vintage pillbox hat went missing just a few weeks before the wedding. I had my heart set on wearing it as soon as I laid my eyes on it a year before and I was distraught. Indigo Rose Design came to the rescue and whipped up the perfect hat (in the midst of the spring racing carnival) and express posted it to me from Canberra.
This one little detail somehow spun me out and all of the stress and chaos of planning a D.I.Y wedding became too much and I was a crying emotional wreck for about a week. Julian and my Mum were amazing and did everything they could to console me when I was fretting over cocktail ingredients, bags of ice, last minute ‘yellow knickers’ shopping etc.
Scott from Woolshed Imaging filmed everything and had all of our footage, two professionally edited movies, and four promotional movies (that I gifted to a handful of suppliers) all done within just a couple weeks after our wedding. Scott was such a professional was such an inconspicuous videographer!!
Looking back on this now I am amazed at how we managed to accomplish so much within such a short amount of time. (A seven month engagement whilst officiating about 70 other weddings in between!) Julian’s grandparents were so happy to see their first grandchild of the family get married! Such a special day for the family. It really took a whole community to pull off our amazing day and I will always look back on it as a biggest blur of love, happiness and billy buttons!
I asked Julian if he’d like to contribute anything to this story and his words of advice were ‘marry a marriage celebrant!’ Haha!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Julia and Julian; such a happy day for you both – full of love!